Local road strategy needs to tackle congestion crisis

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that congestion is not just damaging the environment and air quality, but also harming UK economy and productivity.

A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities argues that councils need the same level of long term funding certainty for local roads maintenance that is enjoyed by Highways England and Network Rail in order to successfully tackle the current £12 billion roads repair backlog.

With traffic forecasted to rise by up to 55 per cent by 2040, as part of its report, the LGA also warned that congestion is draining our economy and productivity, forecasting that congestion will cost the economy £300 billion a year by 2030.

As well as improving funding, local authorities should also be given control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, with the fuel duty rebate allowing councils to protect vital bus routes and provide an efficient bus service.

Judith Blake, LGA transport spokesperson, said: “Congestion can have a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and act as a drag on local growth. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life. When the average motorist is spending a working week every year sat in traffic on major roads, and losing almost a £1,000 in the process, it’s clear that councils need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.

“Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion. But they need long-term consistent funding to invest in local roads and need greater powers to solve the problem and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling. This will help those that need to use the roads as well as those that have to live with the consequences of congestion.”

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